Smalling confident Rooney will bounce back

The Manchester United defender is adamant his team-mate will return to the starting XI soon after being dropped for Leicester City’s visit to Old Trafford on Saturday

Chris Smalling has backed Wayne Rooney to bounce back from being dropped for Manchester United’s 4-1 rout of Leicester City.

Ibrahimovic threatened to break my legs over Pogba deal – Raiola

The United captain has faced heavy criticism following an indifferent start to season and manager Jose Mourinho opted to bench him against the Premier League champions.

The Red Devils were superb in the absence of Rooney, who made a late cameo as a substitute, scoring four first-half goals to leave Leicester shell-shocked.

Mourinho later offered his backing to Rooney, though, and Smalling – who acted as stand-in captain – says the 30-year-old was not affected by the decision and is sure his club and England team-mate will come back strong.

“Wayne did not appear down. He was the same before the game when we were all getting ready. He is often one of the most vocal and he was the same,” Smalling told reporters.

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“Whatever the situation is, whatever game, whether he is on the bench or playing or whatever, he is always that same type of character and that is why he is England’s main man and our main man.

“He is a very experienced guy and he has played that many games that I think it will only be a matter of time before he is back in there and firing again because he’s quality.”

Raiola: Ibrahimovic threatened to break my legs over Pogba deal

The representative revealed his client’s bizarre ultimatum over the biggest transfer of the summer – which as a taekwondo black belt, may not have been entirely in jest!

Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s agent Mino Raiola has claimed the experienced attacker threatened to “break his legs” if he allowed Paul Pogba to move anywhere other than Manchester United.

Raiola represents both players and he has revealed Ibrahimovic made it very clear that he would be unhappy if the France international did not end up at Old Trafford.

After a period of intense media speculation, Raiola eventually brokered the most valuable transfer in football history when Pogba moved from Juventus to Manchester United for €105 million.

However, Raiola has stressed Ibrahimovic – who has a black belt in taekwondo – sent him a stern warning before the deal was completed.

“Zlatan told me: ‘Do not transfer Pogba elsewhere or I will break your legs’,” Raiola said.

Pogba came in for criticism after failing to impress with his early performances for United, but he scored his first goal for the club in a 4-1 victory over Premier League champions Leicester City on Saturday.

Raiola feels his client has not featured in his best position, though.

“Pogba still has to find his place in the team. My preferred position for him is left attacking midfielder,” the Frenchman’s agent added.

“With his power, stamina and technique, Pogba would be unplayable in that role. But [Jose] Mourinho takes the decisions.”

Mourinho's treatment of Schweinsteiger is not right – Podolski

The German midfielder has been banished from the first-team and must train with the reserves, much to the ire of his former team-mate, who hit out at the manager

Former Germany international Lukas Podolski has hit out at Manchester United boss Jose Mourinho over his treatment of Bastian Schweinsteiger.

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The experienced midfielder joined United from Bayern Munich ahead of the 2015-16 campaign, but struggled to make an impact at Old Trafford, partially due to injury problems.

New manager Mourinho quickly decided he no longer needed Schweinsteiger and eventually dropoed the 32-year-old to the reserves, much to the dismay of the midfielder’s old international team-mate.

“When you look at the career Bastian has had, I can only say that what is happening there is simply not right for a player of his stature,” Podolski told Bild.

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“I do not know what Mourinho has discussed with Bastian. But is clear that it is not okay to drop someone like Basti to the reserves.

“A coach should always keep his door open to all players, and especially to players like Schweini.”

Schweinsteiger has a contract with United until June 2018.

Mourinho demands consistency from Pogba

The midfielder netted his first goal since his return to Manchester United and the manager hopes to see more impressive displays from him

Paul Pogba may have had his best game since returning to Manchester United as they thrashed Leicester City 4-1, but Jose Mourinho still expects more from the Frenchman.

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The world’s most expensive player fired United to a stunning victory at Old Trafford on Saturday and capped off a fine display with his first goal for the club.

His 42nd-minute header came after Chris Smalling, Juan Mata and Marcus Rashford had all beaten Ron-Robert Zieler ahead of the interval.

Occupying a deeper role alongside Ander Herrera, Pogba finally produced the kind of display demanded of him, but – although impressed – his manager still wants more.

“I don’t know [if it was his best game since returning from Juventus] I think he played okay against Southampton, he played okay against Hull City,” said Mourinho.

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“When the team didn’t play well he plays not so well, when the team plays better he plays better.

“We all want more from him and from the team. The last thing that the team achieves is consistency because the process starts with playing well in spaces and the last thing you achieve is to play well consistently.

“So he has to be more consistent like the team, but I think him and Ander in midfield, they were good. 

“They were a good complement and again Ander is a kid that brings intensity and I thought also on the defensive point of view it was important to have fast players on the pitch to recover a team that is very direct in the counter-attack with lots of long balls and people arriving from behind. So we changed the team to play against Leicester, the specific qualities they have.”

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Captain Wayne Rooney was dropped to the bench for the clash in one of four alterations made by Mourinho.

However, there was no place for Henrikh Mkhitaryan in the matchday squad, although the Armenian was not left out due to injury.

“I wouldn’t say injured, I would say not 100 per cent,” Mourinho added. 

“They’re not 100 per cent as I always think this difficult moment where you really feel that you have to win the match I prefer to go with players who are 100 per cent ready by the physical point of view and mental point of view.

“Injured was [Anthony] Martial and Phil Jones, Phil for a few more weeks, the rest are in that grey zone and the decision was to go with people who are fit.”

Ranieri demands answers from Leicester players after Old Trafford thrashing

The Italian manager was disappointed with the way his side capitulated in the first half as they conceded four goals before the break

Claudio Ranieri will demand answers from his Leicester City players after they capitulated to suffer a 4-1 defeat at Manchester United.

On the Wayne no more! Man Utd all the better after dumping Rooney

The champions were put to the sword by a United side shorn of sluggish captain Wayne Rooney in Saturday’s early game – Chris Smalling, Juan Mata, Marcus Rashford and Paul Pogba putting the hosts in charge by the interval.

Three of United’s goals were scored from corners, with Ranieri particularly irked by Rashford’s – the product of a quick set-piece that caught Leicester’s defence cold.

It was the second 4-1 defeat suffered by the Foxes early in their defence of the Premier League title, having gone down by the same scoreline away to Liverpool earlier this month.

“This is a very good lesson for us because when you concede a goal, it’s important to maintain your composure, stay calm because sooner or later we can score,” Ranieri said.

“Now we have to recharge our battery, immediately forget this defeat and look forward.”

Demarai Gray’s superb strike got Leicester on the board, but they have now lost all three of their away games in the league this term.

Porto visit the King Power Stadium in the Champions League on Tuesday and Ranieri has implored his players to remember the roots of their success from last season.

“It was the same when we conceded a goal at Liverpool. This is the second time,” he added.

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“I want to speak with my players: “Why, why?” 

“Because, OK, if we lose we can lose, but it’s important to maintain our mentality, our shape because that’s our strength.

“I understand they want to show their character, but if you play alone, you play against 11. It’s important you stay together and play 11 v 11.”